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The Onondaga Nation and Haudenosaunee Confederacy, of which it is a part, existed long before European settlers came to these shores. They had developed a sophisticated culture and governance style which allowed them to live harmoniously with the Earth.

After Europeans arrived in their territory, the Haudenosaunee negotiated on issues of trade and political alliances. At that time, the Haudenosaunee were the greatest power in the Northeast. Over several hundred years, the balance of power shifted greatly, with the Haudenosaunee losing nearly all their land and having their culture assaulted. However, they have maintained that culture and are in a period of renewal.